The World War II Photo of the Week
for 1 April 2002
|Liberated at Last ...
A Tommy poses with his PIAT (Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank in munitions-catalog parlance). More like a catapult than a rocket launcher, the PIAT fired a shaped-charge warhead essentially like an oversized spring-loaded crossbow. When Britain entered WW II, their infantry was only equipped with the Boys Anti-Tank rifle, a weapon unfit for the job of dealing with enemy armor. British engineers realized that the usual cartridge projectile ammunition fired by tank rifles, no matter how high the muzzle velocity, would not suffice, and the PIAT was developed to make amends. Essentially a spigot mortar, the PIAT had no back-blast like the U.S. bazooka or German Panzerschreck, but it was very difficult to cock. The "heavy grenade" it fired, however, was quite capable of destroying tanks. From the Webmaster's collection.